Responding to Twitter’s statement, the Delhi Police on Thursday said the micro-blogging website is neither police nor judiciary and that it’s refusing to cooperate with the law enforcement agency.
“Twitter Inc. is purporting to be both an investigating authority as well as an adjudicating judicial authority. It has no legal sanction to be either. The only legal entity, so empowered by the duly laid down law, to investigate is the police and to adjudicate is the Courts,” Delhi Police spokesperson said.
Terming the statement issued by Twitter “mendacious”, the police said Twitter was trying to “adjudicate the truth”.
The Delhi Police said the website claims to have material information basis “which it not only ‘investigated’ but arrived at a ‘conclusion’” and it must share that information with the law enforcement agency. “There should not be any confusion about this logical course,” the spokesperson said.
The Delhi Police called Twitter’s conduct “obfuscatory, diversionary and tendentious” adding that,“there is one simple thing to do which Twitter refuses to do. That is, cooperate with the law enforcement and reveal to the legal authority the information it has”.
The Delhi Police said Twitter should demonstrate transparency in its functioning “which has a bearing on public discourse” and since the matter has been put in public domain, it is important for the police to set the record straight on the tendentious statements made, they said.
‘Not acting at the behest of GoI’
According to police, they have registered a preliminary inquiry based on a complaint by the representative of the Indian National Congress. “Hence, the efforts by Twitter Inc. that portray that this as an FIR filed at the behest of the Government of India is wholly and completely incorrect,” the statement read.
Explaining further, the statement said, the Delhi Police is conducting a preliminary inquiry on the same and the matter is under investigation.
“Twitter Inc., while placing the cart before the horse, went ahead and declared that the toolkit was ‘Manipulated Media’. This clearly demonstrates that Twitter Inc. was acquainted with the facts of the case and it had material information which was germane to the inquiry by a duly recognised law enforcement agency. Therefore, Twitter was asked, by way of multiple communications, to join the inquiry to provide the information it possesses,” they said.
The Delhi Police said that when served a notice to bring relevant material on record, “Twitter India’s subsidiary, TCIPL’s Managing Director, chose to adopt a path of evasiveness instead of cooperation”.
MD’s conflicting stand
Police claimed that TCIPL’s managing director stated in his response that he was “merely a sales head, had no role whatsoever in any operations relating to content and thereby refused to join the inquiry”. Police further added that the claim made by the MD “runs contrary to his very own previous press interviews wherein he elaborately discussed Twitter’s plan to devise methods to identify abusive/ manipulative content. The above interview makes it clear, that Twitter India’s convoluted stance is similar to a deer caught in the headlights,” they said.
The Delhi Police said “the contrived fear mongering by Twitter Inc. is unfounded and misplaced” and that MD was “merely served a notice, not as an accused but to participate in the inquiry as Twitter claims to have been acquainted with certain facts”.
The statement added that Twitter’s statements “are devised to seek dubious sympathy when they themselves not only refuse to comply with the law of the land”.